Sept 10, 2010
Brown: Unitarian Bias
Excerpt from: T.H. Brown, The Divine Original, (TBS, 1978)
Unitarian - GNTs
T. H. Brown (Excerpt)
Deficiencies in the text underlying modern Bible versions, with special reference to doctrinal defects in the Revised Version and the Revised Standard Version
The Unitarian Bias of the R.S.V.
Shortly after the R.S.V. New Testament was published, its deficiencies were exposed in an article by Dr. R. C. Foster, Professor of Greek and N.T. in Cincinnati Bible Seminary, Ohio, published in the July 1946 issue of the "Church News Letter". After presenting a careful study of the numerous changes in the text, he wrote,
"The Revised Standard Version is frankly unitarian and offers a very subtle attack upon the deity of Christ ... It is as if the scholars were saying -- 'This stubborn and unscientific generation of the 20th century insists on maintaining that Jesus was God in the flesh, but by the use of a literary device we will put words into their mouths as they read this version so that they will consciously or unconsciously admit that Jesus is not God but man.'
With Unitarian Bias
The Name of God withheld from Christ
Psalm 45.6: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" is altered to "Your divine throne endures for ever and ever."
In an explanatory article the translators stated that "Thou" and "Thee" were used only when the Deity was addressed. The use of "Your" indicates that the translators believed that this verse did not apply to a Divine Person.
The Name of God is here reduced to the adjective "divine", but when this text is quoted in Hebrews chapter 1.8, it is made to apply to the Son, and the Name of God is restored in the text. The footnote leaves the way open to the sceptical reader to deny that the Son is addressed as God, "Thy throne, O God", in the text, becomes "God is thy throne" in the note.
His Eternal Pre-existence denied
Micah 5.2: "Out of thee shall He come forth ... whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." In the R.S.V. this becomes ... "whose ORIGIN is from of old, from ancient days." Thus the eternal pre-existence of the Son of God is denied and the new translation assigns to the ETERNAL SON an origin in time. This is a very ancient heresy which has been disinterred in the last hundred years or so and thrust upon undiscerning hearers and readers in many modern versions.
Proverbs 8.22: "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way." The R.S.V. reads, "The Lord CREATED me at the beginning of his work." This is a Messianic passage and the new version alleges that the Person spoken of was a CREATURE. This kind of teaching has been widely canvassed in recent times by the so-called "Jehovah's Witnesses''.
His miraculous birth obscured
Matthew 1.25: "... till she had brought forth her FIRSTBORN son." Verse 23 quotes the prophecy of Isaiah 7.14. "A virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son", and verse 25 emphasises the fulfilment of the prophecy by stating that this was her FIRSTBORN son.
The R.S.V. text omits "firstborn" and thus obscures the literal fulfilment of the prophecy and weakens the emphasis on the Virgin Birth.
Matthew 1.16: Early editions of the R.S.V. have a footnote (similar to that in the N.E.B.) -- Other ancient authorities read, "Joseph to whom was betrothed the virgin Mary, was the father of Jesus who is called Christ." -- This note was based on a single corrupt Syriac version opposed by all the major manuscripts. This footnote leaves it to the option of the reader either to believe that Jesus was miraculously born of the virgin Mary, or that Joseph was His father. Read in conjunction with the corrupted rendering in Isaiah 7 the note constitutes a denial of the deity of Christ.
His essential Divine Goodness
Matthew 19.16, 17:"Good Master, what good thing shall do ... " "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is God..."
Without any explanatory note the R.S.V. changes this to, "Teacher, what good deed must I do .... " "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good ..." The A.V. says in effect, "You know there is only One Who is essentially and perfectly good -- that is God Himself. You addressed me as 'Good', but do you really believe me to be 'Good' and therefore one with God?" The whole significance of the passage is destroyed by the altered rendering.
His Divine Sonship obscured
Mark 1.1: "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God." The R.S.V. has a footnote. -- Other ancient authorities omit "the Son of God".
Biblical scholars have been erratically omitting and inserting these words in the Greek text and English translations for several generations. The testimony for their inclusion is overwhelming, and even the translators of the N.E.B. were constrained to admit that "the Son of God" is the best attested reading. There is a note to this effect in the Greek Text underlying the N.E.B. edited by Professor R. G. V. Tasker.
Fulfilment of prophecy omitted
Mark 15. 28: R.S.V. text omits "And the Scripture was fulfiled which saith, And He was numbered with the transgressors."
His Post-Resurrection Appearances omitted
Mark 16.9-20: The whole of this portion is relegated to the margin of the R.S.V. The evidence for the genuineness of this passage is outlined in a separate article.
Luke 24.40: R.S.V. omits this verse which states that the risen Lord showed His disciples His hands and His feet to prove to them the reality of His death and resurrection.
His Miraculous Ascension obscured
Luke 24.51: R.S.V. omits the statement that "He was carried up into Heaven."
Luke 24.52: R.S.V. omits the declaration that His disciples WORSHIPPED Him.
Mistranslation of Luke 2.14: "Good will toward men" becomes in the R.S.V. text "... peace among men with whom He is pleased." This rendering has very slender manuscript support. The indisputable case for the Received Text and A.V. is summarised in a separate article.
Trinitarian doctrine impugned
John 1.3: The R.S.V. note in this verse is redolent of ancient heresies, the significance of which is stated in a separate article. The note makes it possible to regard the Holy Spirit as a CREATURE and to deny the eternal preexistence of Christ.
John 1.18: The influence of early heretics may be seen in the marginal note first in the R.V., "God only begotten" for "the only begotten Son". The R.S.V. translators retained "The Son" but reduced "only begotten" to "only" so their text reads, "the only Son". The margin allows the alternative "God", so the full text would then exhibit the impossible reading, "The only God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known." One revision robs Him of the title "only begotten" and the other revision robs Him of the title "Son".
The rightful place of the Son of Man in heaven denied
John 3.13 A.V.: "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." The R.S.V. omits the words "which is in heaven".
Belief in Jesus as God removed from John 6.47
The Lord Jesus Christ said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life." The implication of His words is that to believe on Him is to believe on God, whom to know is life eternal. The R.S.V. omits the words "on me", reducing the statement to, "He who believes has eternal life". The implication of this new reading is that whoever believes in God has eternal life. Belief in Jesus as God no longer has a place in the text. This weakened rendering would be quite acceptable to any who deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Testimony to "Christ the Son of the Living God" rejected
John 6.69: "We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." The R.S.V. reduces this to, "We have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God." Thus another declaration of His unique Divine Sonship is lost. The new reading is more palatable to unitarians. Admittedly, the "Holy One" is a title of great dignity, but it does not attribute Sonship to the Person addressed,
His use of the title "The Son of God" denied
In John 9. 35 the Lord Jesus Christ asks the man whose sight He has miraculously restored, "Dost thou believe on the Son of God?" The R.S.V. changes "Son of God" to "Son of man" and thus eliminates this clear personal testimony of our Lord concerning His own Divine Sonship. Admittedly the title "Son of man" is used elsewhere, but here there is a clear reference to His unique relationship to the Father. The R.S.V. destroys the important doctrinal teaching of this verse.
Prayer to the Father in the Name of the Son discountenanced
John 14.14: "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it" is changed by a marginal note to, "If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it." If we accept the alteration we dilute the testimony of the Holy Scriptures to the efficacy of prayer offered to the Father in the name of the Son. This is even more noticeable in John 16.23: "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you," becomes in the R.S.V. text, "If you ask anything of the Father, he will give it to you in my name."
The Deity of Christ obscured in Acts 20.28
Paul admonished the elders at Ephesus, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased WITH HIS OWN BLOOD." This is preserved in the R.S.V. text, but a marginal note offers the alternative reading, "WITH THE BLOOD OF HIS OWN." This is entirely different. The correct reading asserts that the flock was purchased with the blood of One who was God -- "the church of God ... purchased with His own blood." The marginal reading dilutes this testimony and merely declares that God purchased the Church with the blood of one who was His own. This reading removes the testimony to the deity of the Redeemer.
The Deity of Christ eliminated from Romans 9.5
The Apostle Paul writes of his own "kinsmen according to the flesh ... Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen." This is the plainest possible declaration that Christ is God, but the R.S.V. introduces a radical change by adjusting the punctuation so that the statement reads, "To them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen." The R.S.V. relegates the true reading to a secondary place in a marginal note. The R.S.V. text merely acknowledges that the Messiah was of human descent from the patriarchs and then in a separate sentence pronounces a blessing upon God who is over all. This passage no longer declares that Christ is God.
The Judgment Seat of Christ abolished in Romans 14.10
The Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to write "We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." This clearly implies that the Son is one with the Father in judgment and is consistent with the Saviour's own words, "The Father ... hath committed all judgment unto the Son."
The R.S.V. changes the text to read "the judgment seat of God." and thus another testimony to the deity of Christ and His equality with the Father disappears.
The Pre-existence of the Son as Lord in Heaven discredited
1 Corinthians 15.47: "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven." In the R.S.V. this becomes merely, "the second man is from heaven." This is at variance with the whole teaching of God's Word on the mysterious incarnation of the Saviour. He did not come from heaven as man. "He was conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the virgin Mary." In this appointed way, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." He was eternally with the Father as the Son of God, but He was not eternally with the Father as man. In the incarnation He fulfilled His eternal purposes and took our human nature and "was found in fashion as a man". In this way, "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His own Son, made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." It is not Scriptural to say that "The second man is from heaven", but it is Scriptural, and the utterance of the Holy Ghost, that "The second man is the LORD from heaven".
The Miraculous Incarnation of the Son eliminated from 1 Tim. 3.16
In the majority of the Greek manuscripts and in the A.V. we read, "God was manifest in the flesh". In the R.S.V. and other modern versions this is reduced to "He was manifested in the flesh". This is introduced as the great mystery of our religion. There is nothing mysterious in any person being manifest in the flesh. This is true of every human being who has ever lived. The great mystery of our religion is that Christ is God manifest in the flesh. This is true only of Him.
The R.S.V. footnote reads, "Greek Who; other ancient authorities read God; others, Which". One might well enquire why the R.S.V. translators put "He" in the text if the Greek is "Who". In fact the Greek is not "Who" or "He" or "Which", but "GOD". The overwhelming evidence for the true reading is given in detail in a separate article.
The Divine Inspiration of the Scriptures made doubtful
The R.S.V. calls in question the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures by inserting a note in 2 Timothy 3.16 suggesting that this verse may be read alternatively "Every Scripture inspired by God is also profitable ..." This suggests that some Scriptures may not be inspired by God, and that only those that are inspired are profitable. That this is not an admissible alternative reading is demonstrated in a separate article .
"Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 1.1
This plain declaration of the Saviour's Godhead is called in question by a note in the R.S.V. "Our God and the Saviour Jesus Christ", which avoids the unequivocal statement that the Lord Jesus Christ is God.
We have seen that the corrupted readings quoted in the preceding paragraphs are supported by a small group of ancient but untrustworthy manuscripts at variance with the vast majority of the documents now at the disposal of Biblical scholars. It has become fashionable to refer to the few as "the best manuscripts" whereas in reality they contain some of the worst corruptions of the ancient text. Some of these documents, particularly the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus, were produced at the time when the most dangerous heresies prevailed in the Church with regard to the Person of Christ and His relationship to the Father. This little group of documents proved specially attractive to those modern scholars who were disposed to adopt very similar erroneous views themselves.
Westcott and Hort in the last century endeavoured to make this deficient minority of the manuscripts respectable by propounding a theory that the majority of the N.T. documents were derived from copies which had been deliberately "edited" and embellished, implying that their conformity with the Trinitarian doctrine embraced by the Church was artificial and not original. There is in fact no historical evidence for any such revision, but the groundless and dangerous theory has cast its long shadow over the whole field of Biblical scholarship right down to our own times.
The Bible testifies to the eternal deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of the Eternal God. Some modern versions, and the defective manuscripts upon which they rely, obscure this vital testimony, which the Authorised Version faithfully preserves."
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